What is Addiction?
Addiction is a situation in which a person grows accustomed to ingesting a drug such as alcohol or engaging in a behaviour (e.g., sex, gambling) that they may find delightful at first. Still, over time, their dependence on the substance/activity becomes compulsive and interferes with everyday duties such as employment, health, and personal life. People who acquire an addiction often are unaware that their conduct has spiralled out of control and is causing difficulties for themselves and others.
Addiction can take various forms, including physical and psychological ones. It can develop as a result of behaviours including consuming alcohol, using opiates, gambling, having sex, eating, and browsing the Internet. Addictions often begin when people find specific actions emotionally or physically gratifying, but they develop a strong need to repeat these actions in order to reproduce the 'high.' As a result, this turns into a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape.
Symptoms of Addiction
Addiction symptoms differ depending on the person, the drug or activity they are hooked on, and their unique circumstances. These signs and symptoms might include:
- Even after attempting, inability to stop using substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, or narcotics.
- A strong desire to take the substance or engage in the activity.
- In the absence of the chemical, the patient experiences mood-related symptoms such as anger, bad temper, poor attention, and a sensation of being depressed.
- To obtain the drug or conduct the action, you may be willing to accept risks (such as stealing or trading sex).
- Relationship issues are pretty prevalent when at least one spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- Changes in social behaviour: Addicts often give up activities they formerly actively participated in, like sports.
- Obsession - An addict spends an increasing amount of time thinking about new methods to practise the activity.
How Is Addiction Identified?
Family members or friends may express worry about the patient's addictive behaviour in a few circumstances. When it comes to activities like gambling, sex, or smoking, the patient is often aware of the addiction problem. The psychiatrist or professional addiction counsellor will ask various questions to determine the signs of addiction, including the frequency of drug use, personal routines, and other areas of his life.
Criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - A patient diagnosed with drug abuse (addiction) must have at least three of the following criteria, according to the DSM:
- Because the patient's body has developed tolerance, the chemical has a more negligible effect on them. To achieve the same pleasure, they require more and more of it.
- Physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms exist, the patient takes the substance to avoid withdrawal, or the patient takes a comparable sense to prevent escape.
- The patient regularly uses more of the drug than is recommended.
- The patient frequently tries to quit or reduce their intake.
- More and more time is spent obtaining, using, or recuperating from the effects of the material.
- Because of opiate addiction, the patient has to give up social, occupational, or leisure activities.
- Patients continue to take it despite knowing it creates psychological and physical issues.
Treatment of Addiction
- Addiction is a curable disease with excellent treatment options. Treatments are available for even the most severe addiction issues.
- Recognizing the problem is the first step toward recovery from addiction. If a person denies having trouble, the entire healing process can be hampered, and in such circumstances, friends and family typically step in to help.
- Withdrawal from the addictive drug or activity is the first step in addiction therapy. Bodily indicators such as nausea and vomiting, sweats, chills, muscular cramps, insomnia, heart rate changes, and even fever appear when this happens.
- Irritability, mood fluctuations, anxiety, and despair are some of the emotional side effects. Symptoms persist for 3 to 5 days on average. Psychiatrists may prescribe drugs to help with the withdrawal symptoms at this time.
- Counselling is a crucial component of treatment that typically occurs concurrently. Patients often get cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help them detect, avoid, and cope with circumstances that are more likely to take opioids or engage in addictive behaviours.
How Therapy Works?
- Addiction can be treated using several different therapy approaches. Cognitive-behavioural therapy, behavioural therapy, and interpersonal therapy are examples of these approaches. Individual and group therapy are used, depending on the severity of the disorder and the individual's comfort level.
- However, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is still the most widely used and effective treatment. Several research studies have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of CBT in persons of all ages. CBT is a systematic therapeutic method that highlights the concept that how we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) has an effect on how we feel. It shifts negative or unhelpful thought habits towards a more positive and problem-solving attitude by encouraging individuals to reason about everyday challenges.
- CBT entails working with a competent therapist to identify and alter anxiety-inducing thought/behavioural patterns and is well-suited to being delivered online using video or audio technology.